Hopewell fire department awarded grant to hire firefighters

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - The Hopewell fire department will hire three additional firefighters with the grant money this fall. It's a move that's expected to help the department better protect the public.

Marian and her daughter have called on fire and EMS crews for assistance more than once.

"Well I'm a diabetic and they've come out here helped me, even took me to the hospital one time," said resident Marian Corriher.

The pair hopes that a nearly $300,000 federal grant to the fire department will lead to an even quicker response time and better service for citizens.

"I do know they do need more help here because Hopewell is growing a lot," said Marian.

The grant is connected to a program called Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response or SAFER for short. The goal, in part, is to help fire departments nationwide maintain 24 hour staffing.

The city manager says the money will help the department reach national staffing standards which are 15 firefighters on duty per shift. Right now, Hopewell has 12 firefighters on duty per shift.

"We're going to be able to add one additional person to each of our three shifts. We've been looking to add personnel to the fire department for several years and we couldn't do it in this budget - this past year," said Ed Daley, Hopewell city manager.

During this tough economy climate the city manager says the money could not have come at a better time. It will also help the city:

"The more personnel we have, the less we have to bring in people for overtime," Daley said.

Daley says he's optimistic the fire department will attain national staffing standards by 2010. Once the grant money runs out it will be up to the city to kick in the cash to sustain the positions filled under the grant.

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